In the days prior to From Here To Eternity, Frank Sinatra's popularity was waning and this private eye show was an attempt to remedy that. In it, Frank played Rocky Fortune, a "footloose and fancy-free young man," frequently unemployed, who took numerous, adventurous odd jobs. It was a relatively undistinguished series; definitely a "B grade" radio series, saved by Sinatra's charm and a tongue-in-cheek approach.
Rocky Fortune appeared on NBC for only a short run of 25 or 26 shows. The lead character, who goes by the name of Rocky Fortune but whose real name is Rocko Fortunato, was played by Frank Sinatra. Rocky, always ready with a wise remark, seems to be a magnet for trouble, most often with the variety of odd jobs he takes. There is frequently a beautiful woman involved, some good girls, some bad. Rocky's a tough guy who stays just inside of the law but we get an occasional glimpse of a soft heart beneath the hard exterior. It's a character that Mr. Sinatra plays nicely.
Employed or not, Rocky possesed a variety of skills. During the course of the series, he worked as a process server, museum tour guide, cabbie, bodyguard, chauffeur, truck driver, social director for a Catskills resort and a carny. He could also fake enough bass to play at weddings and bar-mitzvahs. For most of the series, Rocky received his job assignments from the Gridley Employment Agency, usually referred to as just "the agency".
The only recurring character, throughout the series, besides Rocky himself, is the long-suffering Sergeant Hamilton J. Finger - a solid, although not-too-bright cop who works out of what is frequently referred to as "the Irish clubhouse," who seemed to be constantly running into Rocky, whether he wanted to or not.
At about the same time, November 10, 1953 to July 9, 1954, Sinatra also starred in a musical show on NBC called To Be Perfectly Frank. And, no matter how you look at it, Rocky Fortune was really just another chance for the ever-ambitious Sinatra to be himself, and to promote his career. "From Here To Eternity" had opened that August, and Sinatra used the series to promote the film (and his Oscar nomination). As the series wound to a close and the date of the Academy Awards presentation drew near, it became a running gag that Rocky seemed to work the phrase "from here to eternity" into almost every show.
Fortunately for his career, his Oscar for his role in Eternity came and rescued him from all this.
Most scripts were written by Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts, who also wrote Dimension X and X Minus One scripts. (Frequently, the same music bridges can be heard for X Minus One in early espisodes of this series.) Fred Weihe and Andrew Love directed.
26 weeks, 25 episodes
First broadcast: October 6, 1953
Last broadcast: March 30, 1954
Writers: George Lefferts, Norm Sickel, Robert Senadella (story), Ernest Kinoy, Doc Sanford
Directors: Andrew C. Love, Fred Weihe, Howard Wiley
Announcer: Eddie King
Starring Frank Sinatra as Rocky Fortune
From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.
It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.
If you are interested in preserving old time radio, you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Yahoo.
This is the Single Episode Page. The Certified Set includes extras not found here. It is located at OTRR Certified Set. This page is provided in case you want to sample the shows.
Note that in many cases, file names have been modified from the original OTRR names to conform to archive.org naming requirements.
Relax, listen, and enjoy!
OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that is Certified Accurate indicates that all the episodes are properly identified and labeled but that the series does not contain all known extant episodes.
OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that is Certified Complete is the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implies that all the files in the series are Certified Accurate but also indicates that the series is as complete as possible – it includes all extant episodes.
August 31, 2017 Subject:
Thanks for the post a must for any OTR fan.
February 8, 2014 Subject:
Opening Theme and Music Cues for RF
I've spotted a great many production music cues in "Rocky Fortune." The opening theme is from the Capitol Q library. It is NOT "Harlem Nocturne" as someone posted. It's close and could be called a knock off of it. So the RF opening theme is from Capitol Q as are several others. The macabre marchlike cue used many times in the show was also used in "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar." Why they kept using it, is a poor choice, in my humble opinion. The signature fanfare end cue was also used in "Tales of the Texas Rangers" and YTJD. How do I know all this? I have the Capitol Q library. HAW. Otherwise, this is a really great show. :) Good scripts. And it's Frankie's wisecracks that save the show. Good sound quality.
November 7, 2011 Subject:
A great show! I went into it, pulled in, as I imagine the audience of the time was, by the alure of Frank Sinatra. To my suprise, the show really stands on its own, with only very loose references to Sinatra's own career. The premise is a lot of fun, with endless means of plot and the scripts are sometimes laugh out loud funny. I'm disappointed this is not considered a larger feather in the cap of Sinatra's already huge career, as I think it is really a great show! I've found that a lot of great shows were produced in the late 40s and early 50s, but have been ignored because of the end of radio's golden age. I think they should be looked at closer, due to the likely fact that radio producers were really making a strong effort to stall radio's decline. Ah well.
August 19, 2011 Subject:
The Perfect Match
This show is the perfect match of star and material. Once you listen to it you'll know what I mean. It has toughness but not meanness (just like Sinatra). It has charm but not shallowness (just like Sinatra). The main character isn't just one particular profession (detective, doctor, etc), he does all kinds of different jobs which gives him a nice variety of settings. And you always learn a little something about the job he's doing in each episode, which makes it interesting. It doesn't have too many episodes (some shows have hundreds which is a little daunting). It's a good, well-rounded radio show that's easy to like. It's one of my favorites.
This is a fun series. The title of the song that is used for the theme is: "Harlem Nocturne"
September 13, 2008 Subject:
Sgt. J. Finger
I do think that Sinatra is a perfect Rocky Fortune with is slick personality. The stories are quite simple(look for the "bang my head with something" variation) but a 50's charm is always present. I've heard all the episodes and recommend it. The sound quality is good too. I also love the Theme music. Does anybody knows what it is?